Students with an interest in tourism have been working at the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism for their summer internships.
The internship programme is spearheaded by the Ministry of Finance, Tourism and Development and provides work experience and career awareness to students, enabling them to learn more about the variety of career opportunities that exists within the industry, said Shomari Scott, director of tourism.
“The goal of the programme is to provide opportunity, exposure and training to students before they continue with their tertiary education or embark on a permanent career. By participating in the programme, students are able to increase their level of skills and confidence by being in a regular work environment. Additionally, by networking and exposure to on-the-job training, they gain a competitive edge which will help them both in determining their career choice and transitioning into their chosen jobs, when the time comes,” he said. “This programme is a great way for the students to expand their high school or college resumes.
“During the interview process it will demonstrate to prospective employers that the individual is already familiar with important but basic workplace practices, and this could ultimately be the difference that improves that individual’s chances of securing employment.”
There are 10 interns taking advantage of the scheme with areas of interest ranging from social work to hospitality, planning, secretarial, event planning and marketing and management. They are placed within various arms of the tourism department, including E-Biz, information services, marketing, product, research, finance, human resources and public relations.
Vanessa Bodden, 21, is studying at the University College of the Cayman Islands.
“I wanted to do an internship experience with the Department of Tourism because they would be the only company I have worked for in the marketing field and I wanted more hands on experience as to what marketing is all about. I also wanted to know what particular job I would be interested in doing because marketing is so broad,” she said. “So far, I am enjoying my time here at the Department of Tourism with Gary, Ashley and Erin in the E-business Marketing department and experiencing that social media marketing is fun but is a 24/7 job especially to answer people’s questions and add friendly comments to gain trust and likes.”
Jessenia Downs graduated from John Gray High School in 2010 and wanted an intern experience to enhance her knowledge of the industry and the islands.
“I’m enjoying it a lot,” she said. “I’ve been exposed to a number of different areas within Department of Tourism, thanks to my supervisors Jessica Pawlik and Tina O’Connor.”
Patrick Barnes is enrolled in Lynn University pursuing a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management and a minor in marketing.
“Department of Tourism was my first choice as I would get to experience what it takes to market the Cayman Islands and also gain knowledge about the managing of events,” he said.
Jevaughnie Ebanks of Clifton Hunter High School hoped to “have a comfortable opinion on an area of interest to pursue in my future.”
Interns for 2012 are: Vanessa Bodden, 21, marketing and management; Ashley Christian, 17, marketing and event planning; Jevaughnie Ebanks, 15, tourism and information technology; Patrick Barnes, 20, tourism; Jessenia Downs, 18, tourism; Saskia Hurlston, 18, social work; Romario Ebanks, 17, tourism, hospitality and planning; Brittany Wood, 15, secretarial; Leyah Neil, 15, tourism and planning.